The Winter Holiday of My Choice

October 28, 2006 at 1:47 pm | Posted in More than you ever wanted to know about me... | 12 Comments

Quite honestly, the winter holiday of my choice would be no holiday at all.

Yes, I’m one big fat grinch.

Growing up culturally and very vaguely religiously Jewish, I put a lot of energy into Not Celebrating Christmas. And I still do. It pisses me off that I have to hear Christmas carols while I’m buying groceries, starting sometime in NOVEMBER (!) It pisses me off that people ask me automatically what I’m doing for Christmas. I’d love to be able to work on December 25th and not have to take a personal day for Yom Kippur. The “december dilemma” has tormented Pili and I. Whenever I think we’ve come to peace with it, it rears its little red and white capped head again. At the moment, we exchange presents on New Year’s eve. It’s great because you get to take advantage of all those post Christmas bargins. However, we usually do spend some time with Pili’s family around That Day, and so I have reluctantly had to shed my superior attitude and join the hoards of frantic shoppers.

So why the hell did I decide to participate in Andrea’s holiday gift exchange. Because, derrrr people, I do love getting presents. Even if they come around the end of the year. And because I loved this survey.

Fill in the blanks:

If I could, I’d invent a new electoral system for the U.S. that wasn’t vulnerable to gerrymandering and voting machine companies who promise the election to someone and damn it, the world needs one because, hello, George Bush?

I sometimes buy very academic non-fiction books that I don’t read because it is/they are more like the me I want to be than the me that I am.

If you came over to my house to play and touched my
ate the last chocolate in the box I’d be a little bit mad at you forever for a while.

The colour/s hot pinkmakes me want to shave my eyeballs with a cheese grater.

The colour/s deep jewel tones – burgandy, midnight blue, sunrise, sunset (is this the little girl I carried… oops) is/are so beautiful that when I see them, a beam of light comes down and I hear a choir sing.

Eggy things, okra, and eggplant make me gag, feel it in my mouth for a minute, and then swallow it back down rather than spit it out (or else I just don’t like it, but I’m too nice to say it.)

I might get sick or die if I touch or ingest: Pistachios, mangos or cashews, or anything made of meat or fowl. I’m a pescatarian, otherwise known as a wimpy vegetarian (cheese=good!) with the notable exception of… or look at Canned fish and anything made from it. Seriously. The thought of a tuna fish sandwich makes me gag. I would have mentioned it in the previous question but there’s no way that shit’s getting anywhere NEAR my mouth. (this is where you mention allergies or phobias)

George Bush and all his cronies give me the willies and I might need to consider a frontal lobotomy if I even think about it further.

I love the feel of warm clothes fresh out of the dryer, flannel sheets, and sitting in front of the fireplace so much I want to hump it like a puppy on a sofa pillow.

No one should have to watch me eat chocolate, ripe strawberries, olives, blue cheese, or really good bread because then I might consider being polite enough to share, and I don’t want to share it.

I’m a grown-up now, so I don’t have to eat
drink apple juice (cider is okay) any more, and you can’t make me.

If I could invent a way to permanently coat my nostril hairs with this scent, I’d be my own biggest customer: Vanilla. I am a total sucker for anything vanilla scented. Especially if it has a little bit of a spicey kick to it.

Three things I like that anyone might like: NYT crossword puzzles, chocolate truffles, gardening. And coffee.

Three things I like that nobody else in the world likes: I doubt that nobody else likes these things, in fact I know that’s not the case. But I do think I’m a little odd in my fondness for these things. European black licorice – none of this wimpy twizzler crap. Old signs and advertisements. Tights (NOT HOSE!) with funky patterns and designs on them.

I have TOO MANY/TOO MUCH OF: chotchkes that don’t serve a purpose. Cats, and cat-themed items. And books – but can you really have too many books? No, of course not. And not enough… time to read them. And I know this is supposed to me about me! me! me! But the things I really want are sort of for me and sort of for Guatebaby. I love cute kids’ clothing and I love really good children’s books even more. I think I should have been a children’s librarian. In fact, sometimes I still think about being a children’s librarian, despite the fact that I am already paying back student loans on another degree I haven’t quite finished yet.

Okay, we know the best things in life aren’t things, but these are the best things in life if there are going to be best things: Really beautiful handmade functional objects that are not so beautiful I’m scared to use them. Yummy food and drink. Plants for my garden.

When people have kind, sweet and nice things to say about me, they’re usually talking about:
I had to ask Pili for answers to this one: She says: impish sense of humor, excellent cooking skills, and willingness to listen to a friend in need. I add a good writer and someone who genuinely likes children to that list. When they say I’m a horrible procrastinator they’re usually right too.

It’s true, I’m a photographer. I’m learning to be proud of it.

If I could have any talent in the world, I’d choose the ability to speak persuasively and use it to get people to stop killing each other.

You are given a day and a no-limit credit card to spend in one of these places, childfree. Choose one, or write your own:


  • An auction, where you never know what you want until you see it, and then you want it more than anyone. It’s all about the adventure and the atmosphere.
  • A picturesque neon-lit bar, where a couple of swank cocktails and a friendly bartender might lead to a Chandler-esque story. It’s all about becoming a character yourself.
  • A craft show, because you really need to find something attractive to cover your spare rolls of toilet paper with, and then, you want to maybe glue some paper to some more paper. It’s all about making and doing.
  • A gourmet food store, because you are what you eat. It’s all about feeding yourself and your soul.
  • A hoity toity boutique, because you’d rather have the experience of shopping gracefully than anything. It’s all about quality time.

I would: wander through hip and ethnic neighborhoods in an unfamiliar city, wandering into boutiques, bookstores, museums, restaurants and bakeries along the way, trying new things, taking pictures, and buying whatever I please for myself and my friends/family. And because this is my fantasy, I wouldn’t gain any weight or have to carry any heavy packages or have my feet get tired.

And here’s the last chance to make sure that you’re not going to get a “Jelly of the Month” club membership when you’re expecting your bonus for a swimming pool. It is important to me that the items chosen for me (Examples: respect my Wal-Mart boycott, are vegan, aren’t made by child or sweatshop labour, can be stuffed down my pants)

I try to avoid things made in sweatshops and I try to eat organically but I’m not dogmatic or consistent about it. A jam of the month club membership would make me pretty happy, actually.

And: If I could suggest that you read only one post from my archives, this would be it:. I think it’s sort of an off beat general introduction. But um, by all means, come on in, make yourself at home and read for a while. Can I get you anything to drink? A cup of coffee?

And: If I were to name the Holiday of my choice for this exchange, it would be: Hanukkah, but yeah, no need to reference that. Anything santa related will be summarily chucked (see above, re: grinch) (Please feel free to make one up – but this is your chance to say “Um, I’m Jewish but that doesn’t mean give me dreidels!” or “More Santa decorations please – I only have thirty-seven now.” or “Winter and gifts yes; religious denominations, no – if only all cards could be like those politically correct corporate holiday wishes!” if you want to. Or, you know FESTIVUS!)

I knew I shouldn’t have bought that onesie…

October 27, 2006 at 5:27 pm | Posted in AdoptThis!, mishpocheh, The Other D (Better Living Through Chemistry), The Sweet Life | 19 Comments

Just got an email from Guatemala Agency Lady (GAL). She has (finally) reviewed our dossier and found several documents that we have to redo, including: the medical letter, the employment letter, the police clearance letter, one of the witness statements, and the name affidavit.

Pili and I react so differently to this kind of news. She gets pissed and frustrated – why didn’t GAL catch these errors earlier? – why is this process so stupid anyway? and I feel intensely uncomfortable in the presence of her anger. All I want to do is run around and Make It All Better And Please Stop Having These Feelings I Cannot Do Anything About Please Please Please Please because I feel helpless and small and impotent in the face of These Feelings.

Various therapists have pointed out that I also feel helpless and small and impotent in the face of This Disease. And that my mother is prone to falling apart and I am prone to feeling like I have to fix things for her. Including the fact that I have This Disease, which obviously I cannot fix. And so we smile pleasantly and do not talk about This Disease, ever, unless I bring it up, or unless my father sends me yet another “the cure is only five years away” article. They do not ask about my blood sugars. Despite being total gadget-philes, they have not asked me anything about the pump. I tell them every time a test comes back clear and they say oh that’s wonderful. I don’t know how I will ever tell them if/when the opthamologist does not smile as he is putting away his high tech helmet, if/when I do not leave one of these exams blinking with woozy dilated desperate relief.

And despite the fact that every logical bone in my body is telling me that $2.87 at Tarzghey does not have the power to influence our dossier – or my chances at a job that I want – or anything else, I cannot help that little voice from creeping into my skull. That little voice that says: Why are you surprised, Art-Sweet? Don’t you know that Disappointment is your Destiny? Oh, did you really think you could dodge the bullet this time? In an interior voice rich with contempt and derision: realllly now, how presumptuous of you to imagine things would be different?

Photo Friday: B is for…

October 27, 2006 at 12:08 am | Posted in Meows, Photo Friday | 13 Comments

Baby Clothes.

B is for Baby (Clothes)

B is for Baby (Clothes) Close Up

I was in Targhay, searching for the elusive out-of-season plant stand and a new light for the guest room baby room to be. And somehow I found myself wandering next to a clearance rack of incredibly tiny clothes. And before I knew it, this had made its way into my shopping cart.

I’m in a… New Jersey state of mind?

October 26, 2006 at 10:56 am | Posted in Political Animal, We are Family | 8 Comments

This hurts so bad.

Not that it happened. I’m thrilled that the good justices of New Jersey, or at least four of them, do not have their heads up their arses.

But how could it happen in New Jersey before it happened in New York? This is a matter of great and grevious shame to me.

All I can say, is that Eliot better keep his promises.

Photo Saturday: A is for…

October 22, 2006 at 12:01 am | Posted in Meows, Photo Friday, PiliPiliPili | 11 Comments


Sleeping kitties

Thank you for all your support and comments yesterday. I think it’s good for me, as a total non-smoker, to be reminded by others what a tough habit this is to kick. And you all are my witnesses, that Pili says she is back on the wagon as of tomorrow. Honestly, if ever a situation called for falling back on old comforts, this one did.

I am so awed by my Pili – by her steadfastness and dedication. I always knew it, but now I know it more than ever. She’s going to be an awesome mom.

A is for…

October 20, 2006 at 7:45 pm | Posted in mishpocheh, PiliPiliPili, The Other D (Better Living Through Chemistry) | 17 Comments

The Photo Friday topic this week is “A is for…”

I was all prepared, earlier in the week, to come up with something clever. I have been a Photo Friday loser the past couple of weeks, and I wanted to make a big splash to make it up to Cali, because I’m that kind of over-compensating neurotic twit.

But honestly, all I can come up with right now is A is for AWFUL. A is for ANXIETY. A is for ABSOLUTELY FUCKING UNBEARABLE.

Because, that’s what the past two days have been.

I can’t really blog about the shit that’s going on because it’s not my shit to blog about. Suffice it to say that a family member of Pili’s is going through a very tough time. And as a result is living with us. The resultant stress has both Pili and I bursting into tears at random moments, always carefully when said family member is not around.

The thing that has me up here at my computer blogging about this when I swore that I would respect Pili’s privacy and not blog about it, is that the stress of all this has driven Pili to smoke again. When I first met her she smoked. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke more than anything else in the whole wide world. Cat boxes that have not been cleaned for weeks are more appealing to me than the smell of a smoker.

I nagged Pili for years until she finally managed to quit and stay quit. Until then I would not let her get into bed without showering if she had been smoking. I can smell it on her three days after she’s had one cigarette, even if she has showered. The thought of Pili smoking again, of having to go through this awful nagging nagging nagging routine again, has me reduced to a puddle of weepy mush for about the sixth time today. I hate what this is doing to my girl. I hate that I can’t make it better for her. And I hate that she smells like a goddamn ashtray.

There we go. A is for ASHTRAY.

I am beyond tears.

No longer tongue tied

October 18, 2006 at 2:23 pm | Posted in AdoptThis!, The Other D (Better Living Through Chemistry) | 14 Comments

Thank you for all your kind comments on the previous post. My tongue is back to normal, the stitch, which made me feel like I had a fly stuck on my tongue, has dissolved as promised, and I am once again blowing bubbles.

I don’t have much to say at the moment. I feel like I’m in a holding pattern on a lot of fronts. We’re waiting for the I-171H, which should hopefully come within the next week or two. I’m waiting for news on a couple of job possibilities. We’re waiting for the referral, although not in an any day now kind of way. I’m waiting to hear whether I have hoof and mouth disease or some other dire disorder of the tongue. Have I mentioned that I hate waiting?

I was talking with my therapist on monday about my feeling of always falling a little bit short and of never expecting things to work out. She commented that she had seen similar attitudes in other type ones. That our bodies have failed us in a very central way and so we expect failure and feel like it is always around the corner, hanging out, waiting to jump us just when we start to feel like things might go okay. Then she commented that it seems like this maybe leads me to pull my punches a bit. That I don’t commit one hundred percent because I don’t expect to succeed in the first place.

I think it’s all true. I just don’t know what to do about it.

The Week of Ick

October 13, 2006 at 11:13 pm | Posted in More than you ever wanted to know about me... | 16 Comments

Memo to self: Do not chew gum when you have a stitch in your tongue. At least not on the right side of your mouth where the stitch is.

Memo to self: Do not chew gum when you have had two deep cavities filled earlier this week. At least not on the left side of your mouth where the cavities were.

Why do I have a stitch in my tongue? Because I have a sore that keeps coming back in the same place in my mouth. I’m a little freaked out by this, because when I was in high school, I had a penpal who died of cancer of the tongue as a teenager. Never smoked. Just a random thing.

So when I went to the dentist, I was not thrilled when he said, well, it’s probably nothing, but maybe you should go and have the oral surgeon check this out. And when I went to the oral surgeon, he said, well, it’s probably nothing, but let’s do a biopsy just to be sure.

And now I have a stitch in my tongue.

Most likely? It is lichen planus, another lovely auto-immune condition (thanks, body. Fuck you too), which I already get from time to time elsewhere on my body. I’m trying not to go google med school on this – and I urge you not to – because really, it’s pretty gross.

Have you ever had a stitch in your tongue? It bites. Not literally.

If you know my family, you will find this very amusing

October 10, 2006 at 1:43 am | Posted in AdoptThis!, mishpocheh | 21 Comments

If you don’t know my family, it will give you some insight into my childhood. And into Guatebaby’s probable gender.

My father has decided that until Guatebaby moves from being an indefinite to a definite article, his codename for Guatebaby will be Che.

Rock on, Dad.

ETA: Does this mean we should start our registry with this?

Oddly Anticlimactic but Still Exciting

October 9, 2006 at 11:33 am | Posted in AdoptThis!, Meows | 39 Comments

It weighs eight and a half ounces.
It’s got lots of flashy gold seals.
It has caused us more irritation, sleepless nights, and bitten down fingernails (not that I really need an excuse) than I care to remember.
And now I have to let it go and trust it to the impersonal hands of the united states postal service.

Goodbye, Mr. Dossier.
Hello, Guatebaby?

The cats are not sure what they think about this development.

Bart with Dossier Sambar with Dossier
Idli with Dossier Louie with Dossier

The fine print: We can expect a referral sometime in the next 1-4 months. Hopefully, before we get the referral, we will have received our I-171H (authorization to adopt from Homeland Insecurity), as we cannot be pre-approved by the U.S. embassy in Guatemala without this. Once we accept the referral (more frantic notarizing, certifying, and authenticating) the baby and mother will be tested to make sure their DNA matches. Once we have a positive DNA match, we get to go to Guatemala and visit with Guatebaby.

Our documents will go through family court and then through PGN, aka the Guatemalan attorney general’s office, where they will be scrutinized for petty excuses to make us redo documents for typos, notary errors, and etc. At any point during this process, the mom can decide that she wants to parent the child. Although it’s not a frequent occurence, our agency has had moms choose to parent, and that was part of why we choose to work with them. The rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected, but most adoptions are completed when the baby is between six months and a year. There’s a very detailed flowchart (pdf) here, for those of you who are information junkies.

Once Guatebaby is home (ack, still not totally comfortable with that phrase) with us, we’ll do a readoption here, so that we’re both legally his/her parents (thank you New York State, for not being run by evangelical freakazoids so that we can do this).

It’s really hard, looking at this stack of paper, to believe it will bring us a baby. But I have to believe.

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